For the brand new business owner and fledging website developer, SEO can seem like a highly technical, “put it in the too hard basket” undertaking. While some of the upper levels of SEO may be best left to the experts, there are a growing number of SEO tools and platforms making search engine optimisation a super effective, accessible strategy for small businesses and solo-preneurs alike.
To kick off a killer 2023 digital marketing strategy, the Edge Marketing team has decided to publish a few foundational articles examining the roots of key strategies, practices, and platforms like SEO, remarketing campaigns, and Google Analytics. Starting from the bottom and working our way through more advanced topics, we hope to help in-house marketers and busy business owners learn to hack their own impact digital marketing campaigns.
Read on to learn more about the three foundational types of SEO.
A Word on Search Engine Optimization or Optimisation
We know–this seems particularly common knowledge, however, it’s worth pointing out once again. If your brand or business is in eCommerce, services, or you’re trying to engage and connect with audiences worldwide, chances are you have a globalised website.
In short? The original website for a business may be in Australia–and be populated with Australian, Commonwealth English language and spelling. After expanding, your web design team (or you!) hopefully ‘localised’ your website for new markets; this means that website visitors browsing your website from their own country (the US) would see web page copy, language, and spelling according to local use. In this instance–American English.
The reason why this is worth pointing out is:
- Your visitors are more likely to connect with and engage with your messages if they recognise your brand as a ‘local’ solutions provider; and,
- The above is also the reason why beginners will see ‘optimisation’ and ‘optimization’ all over the web.
SEO (or search engine optimisation) principles hold true across the board–regardless of which country you’re designing a digital marketing campaign from. That said, brands and business owners headquartered in countries using Commonwealth English language will often follow their own language principles–so, optimisation. American English speaking countries will do much the same.
One point of difference is noting that some of the major players in the digital marketing and SEO industries are either a, based in the US or b, follow American English language rules. Good examples of these players include HubSpot, Moz, and Ahrefs. These multinational companies who are leaders in their fields will consistently refer to SEO as ‘optimization’ following American English principles. Fortunately–the practices are the same, the only difference is the spelling.
- AU, US, CA: Commonwealth English, Search Engine Optimisation
- US, some multinationals: American English, Search Engine Optimization
Lastly, it’s worth pointing out that ‘how’ you choose to spell key words and the SEO tools you use to optimise your website should align to give you the best possible results.
A good example of this would be the long-tail keywords:
- Search engine optimisation
- Best dining room colour
- Favourite marketing platforms for SEO
Each of these short phrases follows Commonwealth English rules–and would be great choices if your company is headquartered in Australia or the UK. To make sure that you achieve a competitive page score (more on this later) the platform or tool you use to optimise your pages should include a feature that recognises both and/or Commonwealth and American English or you’ll risk lowering your score.
- Your chosen Surfer SEO long-tail term based off keyword research for the page to be optimised is: best dining room colour
Surfer SEO may try to optimise your page for ‘search engine optimization’ and not recognise the 20+ times your blog post or content marketing piece used ‘optimisation’ in its place.
Food for thought on the battle between American and Commonwealth spelling practices–but good to keep in mind when you’re new to SEO and trying to consistently raise your page scores.
The 3 Most Common Types of SEO and their Uses
Now that the spelling lesson is out of the way, let’s look at the foundations of the three types of SEO including: on-page, off-page, and technical SEO.
On Site SEO:
In short–on-page SEO refers to all of the tips, tricks, and tactics you can use to optimise your web pages for search engines like Google “on the page”. While that might seem oversimplified, most on-page elements from copy and images to keyword selection and inclusion can have a big impact on your overall SEO rankings–meaning, a big impact on how likely Google is to deliver your content to relevant viewers.
Examples of on-page SEO includes: Content, Content Quality, meta Data including Meta Page Titles and Descriptions, alt-image text, and page speed loading times affected by texts, fonts, images, and video files.
Off page SEO:
Slightly more technical than on-page SEO, off-page SEO focuses on the tools, tips, tricks, and best practices marketers use to promote websites on search engines (like Google) and relevant third-party websites.
In summary, off-page SEO helps search engines and third party websites drive additional visitors to your website pages and product or service offers by showing users highly relevant material to their topic areas of interest. (Or, as a viable solution to their problem or product need.)
Examples of off-page SEO that can help drive additional traffic to your website include guest postings content marketing pieces on related websites; backlinks directing new visitors to your site and customer testimonials or reviews.
Technical SEO is different again and the one pillar of SEO that is left to more experienced marketings or SEO-specific teams.
Examples of technical SEO include further optimising website speed, XML sitemaps, and canonicalization. (Like we said–best left to the experts.)
Technical SEO tactics are relied on when marketers want to continue optimising their website for search engine algorithms and help platforms, like Google, more effectively crawl, contextualise, and index your site.
(Why? To improve organic search results and rankings, of course. More on this another day.)
When you group SEO together into three basic ‘types’ it transforms what can seem like a highly technical concept and make it a much more approachable marketing opportunity. Better yet, by seeing how and what each of the different types of SEO does, you can easily see which tactics may be a viable opportunity for you to take on in-house–and where you might be best to ask to help.
Read on to learn how and when to use each of the three different types of SEO.
When to Use the Different Types of SEO
Now that you’ve got a top-level view of three ‘types’ of SEO, it’s worth summarising when to use each, how, and why.
- On Page SEO:
On-page SEO practices are best used when you want to optimise your website for search engines, the visitor experience, and to support your sales/conversion funnel shifting factors within your control. In other words–you can tangibly change, update, and optimise your on-page content like copy, images, and internal links to better support the visitor experience and to better help Google contextualise what your brand and business is all about.
- Off Page SEO:
Off-page SEO tactics are best relied on are an excellent way to increase your brand awareness and drive relevant traffic to your site through existing third-party networks. Further to that, focusing on off-page SEO tactics like guest posts and backlinks can heavily increase your website’s authority status–a key deciding factor in showing search engine traffic your site as a go-to solutions provider.
- Technical SEO:
Technical SEO refers to the next level of tactics that can optimise your website and web presence for search engine best practices. While highly effective at positioning and anchoring your place online, these more complex strategies are best left to–or guided by–an experienced SEO expert who knows the impact and weight of each variable.
(For example, prioritising indexation and schema markups. Important–but not always beginner-friendly.)
One last word to the wise: be aware of trying to ‘one up’ search engines using black hat SEO strategies in favour of the more marketing acceptable white hat SEO techniques. To summarise:
- Black Hat SEO Techniques:
Using poor form or ‘dubious’ SEO techniques to try and optimise your web pages or get a better SEO score. tactics would include keyword stuffing (using chosen keywords far too often leading to poor user/reader experience), using links that direct to (or trying to source backlinks from) unrelated content providers. Even if a website has excellent traffic and you want to jump on the bandwagon of their built up community–if the third-party provider has no relevant context to you and your website, don’t try to leech their visitors. (Google will flag you for this.)
- White Hat SEO Techniques:
Google’s search engine guidelines are very clear about what they consider above board SEO tactics–these are called ‘white hat SEO’ and will be both viewed favourably by Google and help boost your website’s score. These include publishing and linking to relevant content, proper English with full sentences and accurate grammar, and well labelled and titled on-page images, titles, and tags.
In short, your on page SEO strategy should be actioned following verified techniques approved by Google to increase your search rankings, develop a useful and relevant link building network for all internet users, and help accurately answer users search queries. No one wants to visit a junk website that uses dubious language and offers to lure them there–and Google site crawlers are no different than you.
When to Bring in an SEO Expert
Feeling overwhelmed? No need to worry–SEO used to be a hyper-detailed strategy best left to the experts, however, more beginner-friendly tools and best practices have become popular in recent years so fledgling marketers and business owners don’t feel left out.
Knowing that an effective SEO strategy can build your brand awareness, automate new and increased website traffic, and help position your business as a lead figure in your industry, we always recommend businesses at every stage get started with SEO. If you’re a solo-preneur just learning to hack the ropes of basic website development and design, no problem–beginner-friendly website hosts like Wiz, SquareSpace, and WordPress offer simple freemium SEO tools.
If you’re interested in scaling your business to a new level of growth and have some marketing budget to work with–it may be time to call in an expert. Whether you outsource your SEO work to an agency like Edge Marketing or you bring someone in-house, consistent SEO strategy and refinement is an excellent way to take your brand to the next level.
Want to work with an expert but worried about costs? Can do–like all good agencies, we know the importance of outsourcing key functions (like SEO) to industry experts and managing costs by keeping achievable and efficient tasks in-house. Whereas you may have a killer designer on the team, SEO may be slightly outside of your key skill set–and our team can work together with your existing marketing members to bring it all together.
Learn More About the Types of SEO with Edge Marketing
Whether you know that your business is better suited to a local SEO campaign or you’re still grasping the differences between on page SEO and off-page SEO, the same holds true–a great SEO strategy can result in significant ROI.
If you’re interested in learning more about popular digital marketing trends, on page SEO and off page SEO, which SEO tools are the most beginner-friendly, and how you can best find and connect with new customers online, follow along with the Edge Marketing blog. Dedicated to education and upskilling our community, we regularly deep dive into best practices, industry insights, and ‘how to guides’ that can keep you learning about and capitalising on your marketing efforts each week.
Interested in outsourcing some of your more detailed SEO work to an expert team? Get in touch with the Edge Marketing experts today.